When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!" —John 21:21-22
Many years ago when I was a young "Jesus Freak", we wore out a song that was our anthem, "I Have Decided To Follow Jesus". The 2nd verse was my favorite: "Though none go with me still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back." That sentiment was forged into our spiritual DNA. And it became the minimal requirement for being a follower of Jesus. For there was no such thing as a "Christian" who wasn't entirely a Follower of Jesus...
Since those days, Christianity has seen its esprit de corps motto updated with one that more accurately expresses the sentiment of modern culture: "If All Go With Me I Might Follow". That statement reflects the message change of the modern Church, from one of individual responsibility to group dependency. The explosion of social media indicates the fact that people today can't seem to act without abundant amounts of approval from peers. Group Faith is replacing Individual Salvation for a society that is becoming increasingly dependent. Christianity may be for the child-like, but it doesn't work for the immature, who can't seem to grow up enough to become independently responsible for their faith.
Group faith stunts spiritual growth because it works on the premise that you cannot advance into freedom without your group advancing into freedom. That "team" idea works well in team competitions. However, most important things in your life are not going to be team competitions, but individual efforts. What if morality were made into a "team competition"? A few adulterers, addicts, liars, and thieves, would set the standard for the whole society. Their commitment to sin would become the excuse for everyone else to compromise and fail. It's the embracing of group dependence that is accelerating the moral failure of our present culture.
Jesus taught individual faithfulness OVER group harmony because moral compromise and spiritual timidity within a group is never broken by consensus, but by the revival of the individual. Groups are moved by individuals. Individuals are not moved by groups. So just as Jesus admonished Peter to not base his obedience upon what his friend did, so I challenge you today. Stop waiting for the herd to move. YOU move. Follow Jesus. Follow humbly...decisively...obediently...faithfully. "Though none go with me still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back."
Stay On The Path!